Crunchy, refreshing, and easy to eat, the cucumber is a delicious and nutritious veggie! The health benefits of eating cucumbers regularly can make quite an impact. Cucumbers are packed with antioxidants and a wide variety of vitamins, making them a super healthy addition to your diet. Plus, they make a perfect crunchy snack that’s low in calories
From promoting healthy skin to improving your memory, check out the top 13 health benefits of cucumbers below. And if you’re lucky enough to have a load from your garden or farmers market on hand, you’ll definitely want to check out some of our favorite cucumber recipes too!
1. Cucumbers Promote Hydration
Cucumbers are a great way to keep hydrated on a hot day as they are made up of 95 percent water. Yes, 95 percent, making some call it nature’s most hydrating vegetable! Due to their high water content, they also make for a great juice or smoothie ingredient!
2. Improve Memory
Cucumbers contain an anti-inflammatory flavonol called “fisetin” which plays a significant role in brain health. And while fisetin is found in other vegetables, cucumbers, in particular, contain a more concentrated amount. Due to this, cucumbers have been cited to improve memory and help in preventing memory loss.
3. Cucumbers Aid in Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, calories are important. And thanks to only 16 calories per one-cup serving, cucumbers are a great food to aid in weight loss. They can fill you up, without adding many calories to your day. As discussed, they also contain loads of healthy vitamins to give your body a healthy dose of nutrients which is key for losing weight in a healthy way.
Related: 6 Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar and How To Use It
4. Maintain Healthy Digestion
Any vegetable high in water content will be able to promote healthy digestion by keeping you hydrated. However, cucumbers, particularly their skin contains insoluble fiber which helps to add bulk to your stool and aid in the clean-out process. And though this subject is one typically kept private, everyone knows just how important healthy digestion is!
5. Reduce Blood Sugar Levels
Cucumbers have been shown to be especially beneficial for diabetics as they’ve been shown to reduce blood sugar levels. Cucumbers have an index of 15 on the glycemic index scale (anything under 55 is considered low). Their fiber content also slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and sugars which in turn reduces blood sugar levels.
6. Have Anti-Cancer Benefits
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables is one of the best things you can do to stay healthy and reduce your risk of cancer. Cucumbers, in particular, are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family and contain high levels of these nutrients which may help in preventing cancer. They also contain fisetin (mentioned earlier), caffeic acid, and lutein which have all been shown to reduce cancerous symptoms.
7. Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation in the body can lead to a whole host of problems. But thankfully there are plenty of foods that can combat inflammation, namely cucumbers. This is due to the presence of polyphenols called lignans. Cucumbers can reduce inflammation externally too when used directly on the skin (more on that below).
8. Cucumbers Promote Healthy Skin
There’s a reason why every spa seems to have cucumbers on hand. Not only does cucumber water make for a super refreshing that can promote relaxation, but cucumbers also have amazing skin benefits when applied topically. Cucumbers, most popularly placed on the eyelids, cool the area and ease facial swelling – cool as a cucumber, right? Cucumbers can also serve as a great way to cool down sunburn!
9. Diminish Bad Breath
Got a case of bad breath? Instead of reaching for a piece of gum, you can actually grab a slice of cucumber. Cucumbers’ high water concentration prevents dry mouth and the crunchy texture can help eliminate odor-causing bacteria by removing food particles and plaque and stimulating saliva production.
10. Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure? It may be time to add cucumbers to your diet. Of course, cucumbers alone aren’t going to lower your blood pressure single-handedly, but as a part of a healthy overall diet, they can aid in lowering blood pressure in large part due to their potassium content. One large cucumber contains 442mg of potassium which is an essential mineral for regulating blood pressure.
11. Provide Heartburn Relief
There’s no question: heartburn is a pain. Whether it’s brought on by some late-night pepperoni pizza or the joys of pregnancy, finding relief while it’s happening is a top priority. Heartburn happens due to acid from the stomach reaching into the esophagus and throat, which causes that fiery burn. Instead of reaching for a Tums, however, cucumber can be a great preventative/reliever. An alkaline vegetable, cucumber will reduce the amount of acid available in the stomach and thus can cool heartburn.
12. Promote Healthy Hair & Nails
Healthy, glowing hair and strong nails are a goal for many of us. But with age, they can be more difficult to come by. Silica, found in cucumbers, is a trace mineral that strengthens connective tissues such as our hair and nails. Just make sure not to peel off the skin of a cucumber, which is where most of the silica, as well as various other nutrients, are found.
13. Combat Stress
Known as the stress-relieving vitamin, cucumbers contain vitamin B1 or thiamine. And while it may only make up about 3% of your daily value, every little bit counts. Plus, eating a healthy diet, which includes cucumbers is key to managing stress levels, plus the crunchiness of this particular veggie can be a great choice for anxiety-prone times.
Try These Healthy Cucumber Recipes
So who’s ready to dive into some cucumber recipes? Now that we know how amazing the health benefits of cucumbers are, it’s time to incorporate them into our diet!
Of course, we have no opposition to eating them all by themselves but when you’re looking for something with a little more pizazz, these recipes bring out the best that cucumbers have to offer!
1. Cucumber Water
Adding cucumber to your water is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to get them in your day! You might also enjoy these healthy water infusion recipes.
2. Beet Salad with Cucumber, Mint, and Feta
For a fun spin on cucumbers, try spiralizing them in this beet salad with cucumbers, mint, and feta! It’s a delicious way to get your cucumber fixed and reap all the health benefits too!
4. Lemonade Cucumber Fizz Cocktail
This refreshing drink is a great way to use up your fresh cucumbers lying around. Plus, it’s packed with flavor due to the fresh lemon juice, mint, and rosemary.
5. Quick Pickled Cucumbers and Onions
These pickled cumbers are delicious on their own but also make a great addition to salads and sandwiches. These are something I keep on hand all summer long! Get this recipe from the kitchen of street smart nutrition.
6. Low-Carb Pesto and Turkey Cucumber Roll-Ups
Cutting cucumbers lengthwise into thin rectangular shapes provides the perfect roll-up to stuff with hummus, turkey, arugula, and more. It’s a great healthy snack or light lunch.
7. Greek Turkey Pitas
This recipe is perfect for lunch or dinner and will send your mouth straight to Greece. These flavorful turkey burgers are served in toasted pita bread and the herbs and zippy cucumber yogurt dressing really make this dish amazing.
8. Cucumber Mint Smoothie
Cucumber and mint are a delicious flavor combo and this smoothie is packed with fruits and veggies. Plus, it’s vegan, dairy-free, and one you’ll want to make again and again!
Cucumber Sandwiches: Simply slice cucumbers and place them between whole wheat sandwich bread. Spread your favorite yogurt-based sauce (we love Trader Joe’s Cilantro and Chive Yogurt Dip!) for a delicious and easy concoction!
Cucumber Bruschetta: Transform cucumbers into a fun bruschetta by cutting them into 1⁄4 inch thick circles and topping with fresh feta or goat cheese, tomatoes, basil, balsamic, anything your taste buds are craving